European Union guidelines on the collaborative economy

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European Union guidelines on the collaborative economy

Comme ci comme ça, to put it in French.

After a long process of data evaluation, research and consultation, European Commission decided, so to speak, yesterday on the major issue of the "sharing economy", as we know it, or the "collaborative economy" as they decided to call it.

The Commission unveiled recently a huge "package" with guidelines, scientific or legal analyses and surveys accompanied by an even larger volume of data, examples and information - which can be found here - but would require days, if not weeks, to be read carefully.

Key finding: collaborative economy grows rapidly and very dynamically, with rates that are impossible to ignore. In 2015, it is estimated that its turnover reached 28 billion euros, almost double than 2014 and in the coming years, may rise to more than 160 billion euros.

The EU does not want to proceed in horizontal settings and attempts to tumble and balance between the potential of young versus traditional business models, under the broader perspective of consumer protection, fair taxation and equal opportunities of employment.

In plain words:

  • Service providers should be required to obtain corporate licenses or authorizations where deemed absolutely necessary for reasons of public interest.  
  • Absolute prohibition of an activity should be viewed only as the last resort.  
  • Platforms (e.g. airbnb, etc) should not be subject to approvals or licenses when they merely play a mediating role between consumers and providers of actual service (e.g. transportation services or accommodation). 
  • Member States should proceed to differentiate between ordinary citizens providing services on an occasional basis and providers who are acting in a professional capacity, for example by establishing thresholds based on the volume of activity. 

In the case of Greece, where the cooperative economy manifests itself mainly in accommodation and operates within a chaotic, shadow area, after the unbelievable full liberalisation of leases last November and the State's failure to intervene, this last point is the most critical for now.

The reasons have been analyzed and commented on by Tornos News ( as well as other fora for over a year now, taking into account the persistence of Greece's lenders on the subject. This point, therefore, signifies the basis of legislative intervention which, according to our information, is being processed these days by competent ministries.

The spirit is to impose restrictions on the total duration of leases within the year, the number of properties every owner can offer to lease and perhaps their being recorded in a Registry, to facilitate, at a latter stage, tax legislation.

The conclusion will be hopefully revealed very soon, in order for the continuing underground economy and tax evasion orgy distorting our tourist product, to be addressed.

It may be interesting to note the following:

In countries or cities where the authorities have already progressed in legal and tax frameworks to regulate the collaborative economy, the EU recommenadtions is for more flexible arrangements and fewer restrictions.

In Greece, where nothing has be done, they seem to signal exactly the opposite.

That is all for now, since the issue will evidently continue to stay with us for a very long time.

RELATED TOPICS: GreeceGreek tourism newsTourism in GreeceGreek islandsHotels in GreeceTravel to GreeceGreek destinations Greek travel marketGreek tourism statisticsGreek tourism report



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